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What is your favourite opening title music to a John Williams' scored movie


GerateWohl
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I mean, I hope it is not E.T.

This distant humming sound at the E.T. main titles works good in the film, but might not be your favourite piece of title music. Same with Jurassic Park probably.

Of course there are prominent examples for great opening title music like Star Wars, The Towering Inferno, Catch Me if You Can. Sometimes there is no Williams music at all during the main titles like with Indy 2 and 4, Schindlers List, Empire of the Sun. Sometimes the movie goes directly into the story and main titles are accompanied by the actual score for the scene like Indy 1 and 3. I would count those as well as Main Title music. Or something inbetween like in "The Witches of Eastwick" which is actually a main theme but already accompanying the action.

 

So basically the question is, what is your favourite John Williams music at the start of a movie.

 

Is is one of the big fanfares like at Superman or Star Wars or rather something like "Main Title: south america, 1936" from Raiders.

And actually, what is it?

 

I am undecided. Also, I have not seen all movies with Williams scores.

 

My favourite opening piece might be the Jaws, The Towering Inferno and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Star Wars is great, but I heard it too often.

 

What's your favourite? 

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Guys, that's not the opening titles of the film.

But in fact, you made a point.

It is the music at least BEFORE the beginning of the move, not AT the beginning of the movie.

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Raiders is certainly a great contender along with SW (not tired of it so far), Tintin and CMIYC (for the same reason), Jaws and the Towering Inferno

Finally a personnal favourite might be How to Steal a Million

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For me it’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (one of my favorite OST tracks too). Back when I made mix tapes, that + the last track were a pretty good representation of the whole score…

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Oooh, Jurassic Park is a good one - in the film and on album. CE3K too. Short-'n-sweet options are fun. In other veins, I still can't tire of the SW main title, and yeah...Raiders is a pretty fantastic start in its own way.

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1 hour ago, MrJosh said:

There are more obvious and maybe better choices, but I feel I want to go with Home Alone. 

 

There's a lot of nostalgia for me with this opening, it was one of the films I would watch on repeat as a younger lad. I love the way the movie's logo slowly moves into frame under the moon and then clicks into place, synced perfectly with the music. 

 

 

 

This is probably my #2 after Star Wars. It's a childhood favorite for me too but I do think it is one of his most distinctive opening titles anyway.

 

It's funny how even watching that now I still somehow associate it in my mind with those commercials at the beginning of the VHS.

 

 

That Pepsi commercial is burned in my brain. Like the Orange Crush commercial at the beginning of Dennis the Menace.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

 

This is probably my #2 after Star Wars. It's a childhood favorite for me too but I do think it is one of his most distinctive opening titles anyway.

 

It's funny how even watching that now I still somehow associate it in my mind with those commercials at the beginning of the VHS.

 

 

That Pepsi commercial is burned in my brain. Like the Orange Crush commercial at the beginning of Dennis the Menace.

 

 

Wow that really gave me some flashbacks. I had forgotten about the Fern Gully trailer and the Pepsi ad! But yeah, the memories came flooding back, thanks for that!

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All the three Williams-scored Potter movies have great openings that set the mood for the movie that is to come.

 

Actually, it's interesting to compare how the WB logo appears in each movie: as the story grows darker, the logo also gets darker and more sinister.

 

 

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At thinking about it, I realized how few movies there are nowaday with actually opening credits accompanied by opening music.

 

By the way, did anybody ever count how many movies there are starting with a helicopter perspective on a camera ride across a water surface? It is so common. Quantum of solace starts that way. Leon, I think, as well. And thousands others.

I think, no movie with Williams music opened that way, luckily.

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16 hours ago, Edmilson said:

it's interesting to compare how the WB logo appears in each movie: as the story grows darker, the logo also gets darker and more sinister.


Wow, you ain't kidding!  From full bright color, to that hidden by clouds, to going more and more greyscale with each film.  Interesting!

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Star Wars for sure, but I always love the opening sequence for CMIYC!  It perfectly sets the tone for the movie.

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Superman too hot. No the Prelude is a wonderful piece.  It is equal to Star War(to me), also Marvelous, though I'm talking Star Wars, 1977, the first several hundred times I've heard it.  God it was/is/will always be the best version. Taken for what is asked E.T. and Raiders don't compare. Their best stuff isn't opening title material. 

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On 6/1/2021 at 9:11 AM, GerateWohl said:

How few movies there are nowadays with actually opening credits accompanied by opening music.

 

By the way, did anybody ever count how many movies there are starting with a helicopter perspective on a camera ride across a water surface? It is so common. Quantum of solace starts that way. Leon, I think, as well.

..and another one by Luc Besson's, "The Big Blue", before that and all the others. I'm sure there are some before, but I don't know any.

 

And yes, opening titles with animations or elegantly designed credits plus an "opera overture", so to speak, seem to be a thing of the past, unfortunately. It was good that the main credits legally had to be up front; a shame really...

 

...now we have crazily long end credits that are no longer watchable (I used to; every bit of them). Hopefully they will find a solution, it's getting out of hand. Maybe a big QR code instead. LOL

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I haven't replied before because I didn't want to jump the obvious conclusion. But after sleeping on it a few times, I'm convinced the obvious conclusion is the only one. It has to be Star Wars.

 

There are many great main titles by Williams. Some big, bold, and melodic, some spot-on minimalistic (think CE3K or JP), some atmospheric (Raiders, which so intentionally stays clear of the theme that I find it hard to think of it as a main title). But Star Wars is the one that you can put in a concert programme by itself and be sure that it can hold its own compared to whatever else is on the programme. Even without the rest of the score, it's a "serious", formally rounded composition in its own right. One that turned not just me into a fan of film (and classical) music over its first few bars. One that, 40+ years later, still has such an impact that in a theatre, the tension in the silence before it is palpable. One that, after more than a quarter of a century, I still cannot imagine not getting excited about.

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As big a fan as I am of Star Wars, I have to say that the Main Title (or Luke's Theme) has never really done much for me. I think the orchestration is muddy, and those rhythms in the low brass just don't quite work. He did that a lot in his earlier scores and moved away from it. That said, Superman is tough to beat. There's a whole story being told with that melody.

 

I also enjoy the opening of Tintin, and the arrangement of Anything Goes takes an ok song and really makes it special.

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On 6/1/2021 at 3:11 AM, GerateWohl said:

By the way, did anybody ever count how many movies there are starting with a helicopter perspective on a camera ride across a water surface? It is so common. Quantum of solace starts that way. Leon, I think, as well. And thousands others.

I think, no movie with Williams music opened that way, luckily.

 

Well, he did do this scene, though:

 

 

Talk about cliché, I mean how many times have we seen a helicopter taking people to an island to see dinosaurs for the first time, all the while scored by the most glorious, awe-inspiring fanfare you can imagine, one that roots itself firmly into the history of film music as the centerpiece of one of the most memorable scenes ever to come out of Hollywood? Actually, on second thought...

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Superman is a good answer but a funny one, since neither the movie nor the OST use JW's actual intended cue for the credits roll!

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I'm not overly original, but I gotta say Catch me if you can.
The marriage of the jazzy score + the Saul Bass-like animation is perfect for setting up the story and the time of the action. It's throwback yet so fitting. 

And that cue is amazing.

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  • 9 months later...
On 28/05/2021 at 12:00 PM, mrbellamy said:

 

 

That Pepsi commercial is burned in my brain. Like the Orange Crush commercial at the beginning of Dennis the Menace.

 

 

 

Oh man, I can get so nostalgic about VHS openings.  Dennis the Menace is a big one for me as well.  The one that always comes to my mind first though is the Pizza Hut commercial that opens the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tape:

 

 

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For reasons of originality i chose the 10-minute opening sequence of 'The Long Goodbye', with Williams' theme undergoing several groovy mutations whenever Elliot Gould switches location.

 

 

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I guess he's talking about the fact that "Anything Goes" is composed by Cole Porter and not John Williams, but technically that doesn't start until after the title of the film has appeared on the screen, which was scored by Williams-original music

 

 

In this video, 0:00-0:39 = the original JW composition "High Life In Hong Kong", while 0:39-2:46 is Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" (arranged by JW)

 

 

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It's still a pretty awesome arrangement. Much better than the original, I think

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It's great

 

The entire opening is incredible.  Music and visuals

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14 minutes ago, Jay said:

I guess he's talking about the fact that "Anything Goes" is composed by Cole Porter and not John Williams, but technically that doesn't start until after the title of the film has appeared on the screen, which was scored by Williams-original music

 

 

In this video, 0:00-0:39 = the original JW composition "High Life In Hong Kong", while 0:39-2:46 is Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" (arranged by JW)

 

 

Ah, I see. It is a superb recording and ridiculously over the top fun. 

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